Archive for the ‘Is It Time to Panic Yet?’ Category

OH LORD HAVE MERCY

25 Aug

My daughter called me into the bathroom for a heart to heart while she was taking a bath tonight.  She had a confession to make.  She was beaming.

Today at kindergarten, she kissed a boy.

On the face.

Because she loves him.

Because he’s nice and the “specialest boy in the class.”

And she likes his hair.

He loves her too, she’s sure of it.  Even though he hasn’t actually said it.

And when she kissed him, he liked it.  She knows because she could see it in his face.  He didn’t say he liked it but “his face was like, ‘WOW.'”

Tomorrow, she’s going to learn his name.

Please send Xanax.

 

Why I Hate Everybody Rant: Part II

12 Mar

Now, where were we?  Ah yes, I have already covered the part where I think Democrats are whiny, spoiled and fiscally incompetent.

Now on to Republicans (this is the part where my dad disowns me).

The Pubs have, in the past, had a reputation for this longstanding mantra of conservative fiscal responsibility.  If you believe that this still holds true, then you have had your head in the sand, my friend.

They are still pushing a financial agenda, and pushing it hard.  But it’s not a smart one, a responsible one, or even a conservative one.  The goal seems to be entirely to take from the people who need it, and hand it directly over to the people who don’t.  Republicans right now are the ultimate Anti-Robin Hoods.

Federal Budget Cuts

Republicans have held firm to their requirement that the government reel in its out-of-control spending.  An admirable initiative – like I said, we have to CUT STUFF.  But look at what they’re cutting…

Here are 70 programs that are in line for the guillotine, according to the list unveiled by Representative Hal Rogers, Chairman of the House appropriations committee.  Take a quick gander through this list.

  1. Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies -$30M
  2. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy -$899M
  3. Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability -$49M
  4. Nuclear Energy -$169M
  5. Fossil Energy Research -$31M
  6. Clean Coal Technology -$18M
  7. Strategic Petroleum Reserve -$15M
  8. Energy Information Administration -$34M
  9. Office of Science -$1.1B
  10. Power Marketing Administrations -$52M
  11. Department of Treasury -$268M
  12. Internal Revenue Service -$593M
  13. Treasury Forfeiture Fund -$338M
  14. GSA Federal Buildings Fund -$1.7B
  15. ONDCP -$69M
  16. International Trade Administration -$93M
  17. Economic Development Assistance -$16M
  18. Minority Business Development Agency -$2M
  19. National Institute of Standards and Technology -$186M
  20. NOAA -$336M
  21. National Drug Intelligence Center -$11M
  22. Law Enforcement Wireless Communications -$52M
  23. US Marshals Service -$10M
  24. FBI -$74M
  25. State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance -$256M
  26. Juvenile Justice -$2.3M
  27. COPS -$600M
  28. NASA -$379M
  29. NSF -$139M
  30. Legal Services Corporation -$75M
  31. EPA -$1.6B
  32. Food Safety and Inspection Services -$53M
  33. Farm Service Agency -$201M
  34. Agriculture Research -$246M
  35. Natural Resource Conservation Service -$46M
  36. Rural Development Programs -$237M
  37. WIC -$758M
  38. International Food Aid grants -$544M
  39. FDA -$220M
  40. Land and Water Conservation Fund -$348M
  41. National Archives and Record Service -$20M
  42. DOE Loan Guarantee Authority -$1.4B
  43. EPA ENERGY STAR -$7.4M
  44. EPA GHG Reporting Registry -$9M
  45. USGS -$27M
  46. EPA Cap and Trade Technical Assistance -$5M
  47. EPA State and Local Air Quality Management -$25M
  48. Fish and Wildlife Service -$72M
  49. Smithsonian -$7.3M
  50. National Park Service -$51M
  51. Clean Water State Revolving Fund -$700M
  52. Drinking Water State Revolving Fund -$250M
  53. EPA Brownfields -$48M
  54. Forest Service -$38M
  55. National Endowment for the Arts -$6M
  56. National Endowment for the Humanities -$6M
  57. Job Training Programs -$2B
  58. Community Health Centers -$1.3B
  59. Maternal and Child Health Block Grants -$210M
  60. Family Planning -$327M
  61. Poison Control Centers -$27M
  62. CDC -$755M
  63. NIH -$1B
  64. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services -$96M
  65. LIHEAP Contingency fund -$400M
  66. Community Services Block Grant -$405M
  67. High Speed Rail -$1B
  68. FAA Next Gen -$234M
  69. Amtrak -$224M
  70. HUD Community Development Fund -$530M

I don’t know about you, but I see a list that takes a lot of money away from:

  • programs that help the poor
  • law enforcement
  • programs that protect our food, our health and our lives
  • programs that aid our children
  • programs that invest in our future

Now, it’s difficult to determine the actual impact of these cuts, since amounts given are proposed against Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget request (which was never taken up by Congress) and not against current federal government funding levels. But make no mistake, in the Republicans’ attempt to squeeze blood out of a turnip, they have made cuts are going to be PAINFUL for the US in a lot of different ways.

All told, the above list totals about $23 billion in cuts.  Lots of programs that benefit the country are on the table, and the majority of them focus on initiatives that could grow the economy, rather than reducing waste.  Two areas that are NOT on the table, at least as far as mainstream republicans are concerned:

  1. Military defense spending
  2. Tax breaks

These two areas are the sacred cows of Republican thinking.  But they should be the answers to our substantial financial crisis.

ve-military-spending

The United States spends $711 billion on military spending each year, representing 48 percent of the total military spending in the world.

Military Defense Spending

The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world COMBINED.  That’s not just excessive. It’s absurd.  Especially when you consider that instead of paying our bills and taking care of our country’s needs, we are funding military programs that are obsolete, ineffective and wasteful.

“To amass military power without regard to our economic capacity would be to defend ourselves against one kind of disaster by inviting another,”

-US President Dwight D. Eisenhower

If we cut just 4% of our military budget, we would save over $28 BILLION, with cuts that have nowhere near the negative impact on citizens that the $23 billion above have.  But how could we possibly cut our military budget???  Well, here are a few easy places to start:


Tax Breaks

The administration recently caved and extended a lot of the Bush tax cuts, which Republicans applauded.  After all, Lower Taxes! has been their battle cry for how many years now.

While I can understand efforts to jump-start the economy, this was a very costly move that sacrificed a lot of income for the government.  And frankly, a lot of it came from people who didn’t necessarily need the tax breaks.

For years, I’ve heard the lines about how the top 20% of income earners pay 80% of taxes, and how UNFAIR this is, so stop trying to squeeze more money out of those poor rich people! I know Rush Limbaugh is a big fan of this “statistic,” and I’ve heard it echoed by other Republicans throughout the years as well.

Well I call shenanigans.

It’s true, the top 20% of income earners pay 80% of the taxes.  Because they make 90% of the money.

Actually, 80% is a darn good deal.  Especially when you consider that the wealthy are allowed so many deductions and tax shelters that they usually pay a lower percentage of tax than the middle class.  Show me a billionaire who actually pays 35% of his income in tax, and I will show you someone who doesn’t have an accountant.

In fact, the Urban Institute found last year that raising the capital gains tax for wealthy Americans from 15 to 20.6 percent would reduce the deficit to 3 percent of GDP.  Right now, it’s about 10%.

Our country is in financial distress, yet we cut money that helps people find jobs and become productive members of society, in order to keep handing out tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations who need it the least.  Why?

It has nothing to do with “trickle down” theory, which is basically the idea that if you feed a horse enough oats, he’ll crap more and then all the birds and flies that eat his poop will profit.  Trickle down, or “horse and sparrow” is largely ineffective and has been termed by Ross Perot as “political voodoo” because in general, the money never finds its way down to the bottom of the totem pole.  Instead (again, generally speaking), you just get executives with more vacations, fancier cars and bigger retirement plans.

So again, WHY do Republicans keep insisting on these Anti-Robin Hood methods?

It has everything to do with money.  But nothing to do with the budget.  Companies and individuals who have the most money fund the campaigns and get people elected who will cater to them.  Supporting policies that aren’t to the clear advantage of the corporate and wealthy means the end of your career.  It’s Democracy at its best.  Or something.

And here’s where it has gotten us:

Infographic via Center for American Progress

Social Injustice

This “Class War” as some have termed it, is extending down into the State level as well.  Just recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has implemented a $1.7 billion tax hike… but only on the elderly and poor people.  The same amount of money will be directly handed over to corporate special interests.

And now our children’s future is under attack.  As a parent, this infuriates me.

  • Kentucky, Wisconsin and other states are cutting huge amounts of school funding to offset budget deficits.
  • State legislatures in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Indiana are among those considering new bills that would eliminate or severely curtail teachers’ collective bargaining rights in negotiating contracts.
  • Wyoming lawmakers are entertaining a measure to end teacher tenure, which would allow the immediate suspension or firing of teachers for any reason not expressly prohibited by law.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently skipped a $3.1 billion payment to the state’s pension system as part of an effort to cut benefits for public workers, and some conservative lobbying groups are suggesting that states be allowed to declare bankruptcy to escape their debt—including, of course, their obligations to state pension plans.
  • Missouri has recently introduced a bill to eliminate child labor laws.

And in a slightly related topic, in some sort of attempt to cut funding for abortions, Republicans offered a bill with language that attempted to narrow the definition of rape.  While I am opposed to abortion, and thereby sympathize with the idea that my tax dollars shouldn’t pay for it, I see no reason to draw some kind of unnecessary line between “rape” and “forcible rape.”  It serves no purpose other than moving toward making “un-forcible rape” more socially acceptable in some context.  Fortunately, after significant national criticism, Republicans dropped the offending language.

However, shortly thereafter, Republican State Representative of Georgia Bobby Franklin introduced legislation that would change the language in a rape trial.  The rape “victim” would be relabeled as the “accuser.”  Because we don’t want to coddle all those pesky women who have had their lives violently interrupted and their rights dismantled by allowing them to be called “victims,” until the court has finished deciding that there was actually a crime. Of course, victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would still remain “victims” from the start.

What is wrong with this picture???

In short, while the Democrats can be whiny and incompetent, Republican politicians are proving themselves to be a**holes, determined to attack the citizens that make up this country and drive our stability and future into the ground.  Auctioning off their souls to the highest bidder.

I think I want to start my own political party.  Circus clowns, conspiracy mongers or people who lack discretion need not apply.  Same goes for people who are willing to be pushed around by an agenda that puts a price on common sense and responsibility. Unfortunately, that probably means that my party will be very, very small.

And now you know why I hate everybody.

 

Leave a Message at the Beep

03 Dec

Hi, this is Amy.  I can’t come to the blog right now because I’m busy burning the tips of my fingers off with a glue gun.

We’ve been back from our trip to Dallas/Seattle since Sunday and now I’m trying frantically to prepare for this craft fair I decided to enter before I knew we’d be out of state for an entire MONTH.

I’ll be back sometime after this weekend and maybe then I’ll have a chance to update this blog or unpack our suitcases or something.  I have a bazillion pictures to sort through and Christmas cards to order too.

I need about 6 more hours in every day.

 

A Thanksgiving Wish

21 Nov

I usually neglect the mention of holidays on this blog. I don’t know why. It seems that every time one comes up I’m so engrossed in my plans that I just forget the “traditional holiday post” until after the holiday has passed…and then it doesn’t seem to make any sense to post about it.

This year I’m breaking my own tradition and wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving before the holiday.

Tomorrow we’re boarding a flight for Seattle, which I am both looking forward to and incredibly apprehensive about. See, Kaelin doesn’t sleep on planes. The last flight she took was an overnight flight and she didn’t sleep the entire time. I didn’t even know that was possible for a (just barely) 2-year-old.

This flight is during the day (thank goodness) but it falls right in the middle of her nap time. Which means that she’s just not going to nap tomorrow.

Which will either a) be great in helping her adjust to the time change because we can put her to bed 2 hours early… or b) she will dissolve into the screaming tantrum throwing toddler of doom and we will all be killed by the blazes of fire shooting out of her eyes.

Probably that second one.

So I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your families. I hope you eat entirely too much and fall asleep after dinner. I hope you laugh and share and create memories that you treasure.

And if you hear a banshee scream, followed by an explosion, that’s just our little corner of Seattle blowing up from The Toddler Meltdown of 2007.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Edited to add: I just realized that even solution “a” above isn’t a reality, because it’s 2 hours earlier in Seattle, so we really need to put her to bed 2 hours LATER in order to avoid her waking up at 5am. Yep…we’re doomed.

 
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Posted in Holidays, Is It Time to Panic Yet?, Parenting, Travel

 

The Nose Bowl

29 Jun

Yesterday started off on a bad note. J woke up to the “glug glug glug” of me repeatedly pouring water down the sink from two little water bottles while muttering obscenities about the incompetence of toilet bowl manufacturers.

See, I have this habit of using toilet paper to blow my nose and then flushing it down the toilet, since this seems to me to be more sanitary than having dirty tissues sit in a wastebasket for a week.
Over the past couple of days, I have been battling some kind of no-you-can’t-take-any-medication-for-it-because-you’re-pregnant illness and my nose had been a particular distraction the night before.

Basically, I was up all night tossing crumpled toilet paper into the toilet. But I couldn’t flush the toilet because I was afraid it would wake up J. Not once did it occur to me that the repeated sound of the foghorn attached to my face could disturb him. But I just knew that if I flushed that toilet once behind two closed doors, his sleep would be ruined for the rest of the night. Go figure.

So in the morning, I had amassed quite a mound of unflushed tissues in the toilet bowl, and had a sneaking suspicion that the toilet might choke on it when flushed. But that was a theory that had to be tested.

WHAT I DID NOT TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION, HOWEVER, WAS THAT EVIDENTLY THERE IS AT LEAST ONE TOILET BOWL MANUFACTURER WHO DOESN’T THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO MAKE THE BOWL BIG ENOUGH TO HOLD ALL THE WATER IN THE TANK.

Toilets clog. That’s just part of their job, and a fact of life. WHY then, would anybody make a toilet that overflowed when it couldn’t get everything down the tube??? Even at our old crummy house, the water would stop flowing into the toilet if it backed up to a certain level.

I watched as the water rose. And rose. And kept rising. It didn’t stop. It just kept coming, up, up, and out of the bowl. And onto the floor.

And furthermore, WHY WOULD ANY HOME MANUFACTURER INSTALL CARPET IN THE TOILET AREA???

I mean seriously people, what if this had not been toilet water and tissues, but the result of a seafood dinner gone bad? Our bathroom area would have been ruined for good and we would have had to get the flooring replaced because that kind of thing never REALLY comes out of carpet. It’s like putting carpet in the kitchen – something anybody with a brain just doesn’t do.

Anyway, after layering the floor with towels, I realized that the only way to lower the level of the water in the bowl was to take it out myself. Since we just moved in, all I had at my disposal was a couple of empty water bottles. Hence Jens’ morning wake-up music.

I can tell you that this particular start to the day, in addition to my lack of sleep the previous night didn’t do wonders for my mood or my cold, which grew gradually worse through the day. I eventually had to leave work just to go home and get some sleep.

Ah sleep. The wonder-cure. Much better today.

 

A Delicate Balance

19 Apr

We’re shopping for a house right now. And discovering once again that this kind of thing is always more complicated than you think it’s going to be.
First there’s the mortgage, and the fact that the myriad of mortgage calculators available online are virtually useless because they never seem to match what the bank seems to think you can afford, nor can they estimate important stuff like property taxes which have quite the impact on your monthly payment.
And mortgage paperwork is insane. Two months records of this, three months of that, last year’s this, your most recent that, every piece of identification you have available. Sign here, here, and here. And here. And here. Oh and here, here, here, here, here, no just initial there and there, sign here, here and here.
The timing is also quite crucial. If your lease expires in June, you want to close on a house in June because that way you get to skip any housing payments in July and can therefore use the money for moving expenses, closing costs, etc. So if you start your search early and find a house you like, you end up waiting around until the proper time to make an offer, just so you can close at the right time. But if you don’t start searching early enough, you end up being unable to see all the options and possibilities available, and wonder if you’re purchasing a second choice instead of “the one that got away.”
Sigh.
One day things will be simple. They will.

 
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Posted in Finances, Is It Time to Panic Yet?, Moving

 

"An-ti-ci-pa-tion…" (insert music here)

17 Feb

I’m intentionally delaying the setting of my first pre-natal doctors appointment. I think the biggest problem with this whole pregnancy thing is my inate phobia of pain. And upon reading this…

“This will probably be the longest visit you have with your doctor or midwife (unless you encounter problems along the way)…At your initial appointment your doctor or midwife will take your family history, and give you a thorough physical, including a pelvic exam. You will also get a Pap smear to test for cervical cancer. Routine blood tests are taken to identify your blood type, Rh factor, and whether you’re deficient in iron. You will also be tested for immunity to German measles (rubella) as well as for sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis. Depending on your ethnic background and medical history, you may also be tested for sickle-cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, and thalassemia.”

That’s medical terminology for “they’re going to stick me.” And this is the part where I run and hide under the nearest examination table.

I hate needles. Hate them. They are one of the few things in life that can actually make me cry in public, which is embarrasing and frustrating and makes me hate them even more. This first appointment sounds like it will include a lot of needles. And a pap smear. FAN-TAST-IC.

 
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Posted in Confessions, Health...or Lack Thereof, Is It Time to Panic Yet?, Pregnancy

 

Going Digital

14 Feb

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGG-GGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

After calling my best friend the pharmacist in a frenzied panic this morning, I took her suggestion about ignoring the 1-line-2-lines test and instead getting the digital version. The kind that says “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” I thought that sounded like a great idea.

Guess what. Evidently, 1.5 lines = Pregnant.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGG-GGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

 
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Posted in Are You Kidding Me?, Is It Time to Panic Yet?, Just Shoot Me, Pregnancy